ALL+互動英語 2021年03月號 第196期
Can’t Travel Abroad? Why Not Opt for a Staycation Instead!
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected us in many ways, not the least of which is the way we spend our holidays. With long quarantine periods and bans on overseas travel, people have had little choice but to go on staycations—staying at or close to their homes for vacation.
As a trend, the staycation isn’t new. It grew out of the financial crisis of 2008, which left many unable to afford vacations abroad opting for holidays at home instead. But in 2020, the rise in demand for staycations turned out to be a blessing for local economies that suffered deep losses because of COVID-19.
In Taiwan, for instance, city folks headed to the mountains, beaches, and surrounding islands over the summer, rediscovering beauty in their own backyards and reviving local businesses at the same time. High-end hotels, initially left out of the staycation boom, began attracting guests with discounted packages and themed stays such as yoga retreats, complete with access to their luxury facilities.
Businesses have adapted in other ways, too, to observe the new normal. One tour company in India began organizing private staycations that promised social distancing. And a resort there also created “workation” packages that provided office facilities so guests could work remotely while enjoying their holiday setting.
Taking trips to places close to home isn’t the only way to have a staycation. For those who are immune to cabin fever, bringing the holiday atmosphere into the home is another solution. In South Korea, some families decided to use money set aside for trips abroad to decorate their homes as their favorite holiday spots, such as a tropical beach. Others transformed their apartments into indoor campsites by setting up tents, lanterns, portable stoves, and other camping gear. As home camping became a craze, many camping equipment stores were left without stock for months.
While not technically a staycation, the airport and flight experience deserves an honorable mention, as it is so central to traveling abroad. Last summer, Taipei’s Songshan Airport held a lottery and invited the winners to walk through airport security and board a plane just for the fun of it—and many jumped at the chance. And in October, Qantas Airlines offered 134 paying passengers a seven-hour scenic flight over the Great Barrier Reef and other sights, departing from and returning to Sydney.
As long as the pandemic continues to keep travelers grounded, the tourism industry will have to rely on the staycation market to survive. But who knows? Perhaps staycations are here to stay.